Overlooking the Atlantic, life in Essaouira revolves around its busy port and the bustling Medina or Old Town, which is still protected by ancient city walls and imposing battlements. This area is characterised by charming whitewashed buildings, many of which now play host to high-end restaurants, trendy cafés and chic boutique hotels. The transition between historical buildings and modern services is effortless, and nothing looks out of place. Essaouira is also famous for its beaches. Miles of golden sands, stunning Atlantic Ocean and Alizés trade winds combine to make it a popular destination for watersports enthusiasts. The conditions are ideal for wind and kite surfing under the supervision of your private coach, and perhaps a touch more challenging if you're looking to jump on your surfboard and take on the waves. While the UNESCO-listed Medina Old Town with its countless alleyways and souks is truly breathtaking, the fortress defences of the Scala de la Kasbah overlooking the harbour are also impressive. Below the ramparts, you'll find artisan workshops built into its walls. Head east to the Mellah district for some essential people-watching, or enjoy a reviving nous-nous (espresso and steamed milk) in one of the many plaza cafés that thrive in the old Jewish quarter.
By Moroccan standards, Essaouira’s climate is uncharacteristically mild due mainly to its coastal location, and cooling Alizés trade wind. This makes Essaouira a popular year-round resort. You’ll discover that the climate is ideal for both activity-based holidays or luxury city breaks. Summer temperatures in August peak at about 24 degrees Celcius, dropping only a few degrees by October and November. Spring temperatures tend to be a bit cooler, but remain a respectable 17 to 20 degrees Celcius.
Essaouira is proudly multicultural, and this extends to its cuisine, which incorporates influences from the Berbers, Arabs, Moors and French. Seafood and daily catches of fish are local specialities. You’ll find some of the freshest seafood here – straight from the ocean and cooked to order with skill and imagination. Don't leave without trying the region's famous tajines – a fragrant stew made with lamb or chicken and spiced with saffron and cumin. It tastes even better when accompanied by a full-bodied red from the Val d'Argan winery.
You will need a valid passport to visit Morocco. Please make sure you receive a stamp when entering the country and remember to carry some ID with you at all times. British nationals do not need a visa.Visit GOV.UK for further information.